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Showing posts from February, 2009

Social Networking Participation Still Growing

Online social networking participation is still growing. eMarketer estimates that in 2008 nearly 80 million people, 41 percent of the U.S. Internet user population, visited social network sites at least once a month, an 11 percent increase from 2007. By 2013, an estimated 52 percent of Internet users will be regular social network visitors. "The steady stream of social network updates and news is now a weekly -- or even daily -- habit for many online users," says Debra Aho Williamson, eMarketer senior analyst. "That stickiness is good news for social networks." Good news, because social networks have yet to develop viable revenue models. But, there is still time. "Social network usage is not tapering off -- it is still growing," Ms. Williamson says. "Not only are more consumers joining social networks, but their level of involvement is deepening." eMarketer projects that 79.7 million people, 40 percent of U.S. Internet users, will create co

Record Global Growth for Cable Broadband

The cable broadband market posted a record year at $1.2 billion in worldwide revenue as the long-term DOCSIS 3.0 strategy trumped short-term economic concerns. With telcos spending ever more capital on deep fiber rollouts, cable operators aren't about to roll over and sacrifice the tremendous gains they've made in broadband and telephony subscribers. Infonetics Research believes operators are going to take as much of a break as they can in 2009 to both digest all the downstream capacity they deployed in 2008, and also to be more strategic with their DOCSIS 3.0-related rollouts. Highlights of an Infonetics study include: - 2008 was a banner year for the cable broadband hardware market, worldwide revenue for which jumped 35 percent from the previous year to $1.2 billion, led by aggressive deployments of CMTS downstream ports to support channel bonding. - For the quarter, the combined CMTS and universal edge QAM (UEQ) markets increased just 3 percent in 4Q08 to $275 million,

Worldwide PMP-MP3 Player Market Slows

The growth rate of the once rapidly expanding Personal Media Player (PMP) or MP3 player market will slow considerably over the next five years, accord to a market study by In-Stat. Now In-Stat estimates that the growth rate has dipped below 10 percent at the end of 2008 for the first time since the market's inception. "Market maturity, a weak economy, and competition from other multimedia handheld devices -- primarily mobile phones -- are contributing to the slowdown in the global PMP/MP3 player market," says Stephanie Ethier, In-Stat analyst. While consumers are starting to demand features, such as Wi-Fi on their devices, such enhanced functionality will not be enough to re-energize the historical shipment growth. In-Stat's market study found the following: - Worldwide PMP/MP3 player shipments will grow to 245 million units in 2012. - By 2012, 21 percent of global PMP/MP3 player shipments will be Wi-Fi-enabled. - Market revenue for PMP/MP3 players peaked in 20

More U.S. Businesses Opt for Voice Over IP

The struggling global economy will slow the growth of Voice over IP (VoIP), but deployments remain wide-ranging at mitigated levels, according to a new market study by In-Stat. Slightly more than one in three U.S. businesses that have deployed VoIP use it exclusively. Many more businesses use VoIP as a partial voice solution. American businesses are also beginning to embrace voice-enabled IM capabilities, particularly among younger workers. "IP continues to be a partial voice solution for most businesses with VoIP, particularly among larger businesses," says David Lemelin, In-Stat analyst. "Therefore, there is significant room for growth even among businesses that have already adopted it." The research, "2008 U.S. Business VoIP Overview: Stick to Fundamentals," covers the U.S. business market for VoIP. The report analyzes and provides detailed end-user survey data by size of business. In-Stat's market study found the following: - 32 percent of Ent

Wireless Cellular Modems Global Upside

Shipment of the wireless cellular modems used to connect laptops and netbooks to the Internet indicate that more than 35 million of the devices reached the market in 2008. Of that total, the majority were the external USB modems that mobile operators have been pushing for some time. Continued growth has been bolstered as mobile operators have bundled USB modems with netbooks in subsidized price plans. A further 3.5 million were embedded modems, built into the computers. According to ABI Research principal analyst Philip Solis, "After years of slow growth, the embedded cellular modem market is starting to show signs of life, increasing volumes and exceeding expectations." ABI Research expects that, building on a good showing of 3.5 million units in 2008, shipments of embedded modems will more than double in 2009. Qualcomm and Ericsson have been targeting the embedded modem market directly, positioning their products very competitively against each other. Operators, especia

Europeans Connecting via Social Networking

ComScore released the results of a market study exploring social networking site usage in Europe, with a particular focus on France, based on data from the comScore World Metrix audience measurement service. The study showed that 22 million French Internet users visited at least one social networking site in December 2008, reaching 64 percent of the total French Internet audience. Of the 282.7 million European Internet users age 15 and older who went online via a home or work computer in December 2008, 211 million visited a social networking site -- representing a penetration of 74.6 percent. Of the 16 individual European countries included in the study, social networking reach was relatively low in France, at 63.9 percent, compared with 79.8 percent in the U.K. or 73.7 percent in Spain. Despite its relatively low penetration, France's social networking audience (21.7 million visitors in December) was the third largest in Europe behind the U.K. (29.3 million visitors) and Germa

IP Media Phone Opportunity is Over $7 Billion

The evolution of the IP media phone product segment is just beginning. Nevertheless, the device has the potential to become the forth screen in the home, as well as potentially become a next generation business IP phone. Service providers and IP phone manufacturers are introducing media phones to add value to traditional voice telephones and enable IP-based services. Devices, such as the Verizon Hub and AT&T HomeManager, support both IP communications as well as delivery of Internet information and multimedia content. In-Stat is offering a free copy of their new media phone market research report, entitled The Media Phone Has Arrived ." In-Stat's market study found the following: - Consumer media phones will generate between $4-$8 billion in annual revenue, worldwide, by 2013. - Business media phones will generate $3.3 billion in annual revenue, worldwide, in 2013. - The U.S. market will open up in 2009, with Europe coming on line in 2010. The research repo

Video Music Soundtracks on a Small Budget

Creating a video composition with a music soundtrack has its challenges. Using commercially published music is often the most troublesome approach, due to copyright limitations and licensing requirements. Besides, there are several alternatives for videographers that produce content -- even those on a small budget. Some non-linear video editing software packages include a few sample music tracks -- often referred to as license-free or royalty-free music. There are a variety of online sources that sell stock music , which is also royalty-free. And, there are a few sources that offer songs with creative commons music licenses that you can use at no cost, providing you give attribution to the creator. However, all those options require that the music still must be customized to fit your specific needs, and trimmed to the exact durations of each segment within your video. Instead, there's fully automated soundtrack creation software that enables customizing the score by actual

Social Media Marketing is Not for Luddites

Who is the top social median within this market segment, and how can this person influence others? This question will be asked more frequently during 2009, as social media marketing moves further into the mainstream. User-generated content (UGC) -- also known as consumer-generated media (CGM) -- is part of the online experience of millions of U.S. Internet users. From entertainment to communications to e-commerce, consumers are taking charge of the creation, distribution and consumption of digital content. And, apparently, it's growing like wildfire. Tipping Point, Groundswell, Whatever... Up from 83 million in 2008, eMarketer estimates the number of UGC creators will grow to 115 million in 2013. Even more important, rising from 116 million in 2008, in 2013 the number of U.S. Internet users consuming some form of UGC will reach 155 million. For the prosumer stakeholders of the social media marketplace, UGC creates opportunities that were inconceivable 10 years ago, when self-

Managed Security Services are for SMBs

Sometime late this year, the estimated number of mobile small-medium businesses (SMBs) in the world who use smartphones when travelling will pass 200 million. In some regions, 99 percent of all businesses are classed as small-medium. According to a new market study from ABI Research, this SMB market, which has not adopted 802.11 network solutions to a great degree, provides a golden opportunity for Wi-Fi vendors of both equipment and associated services. "Despite the present economic downturn, this is a growing market," says vice president Stan Schatt. "But SMBs have very particular needs and characteristics, and vendors wishing to serve this market need to pay close attention to them." Unlike large enterprises, small businesses tend to buy equipment out of current operating cash flow, not capital funds. This could be very important in the current economic doldrums. Where profits dwindle, so does the opportunity. Vendors must be creative in addressing this hurdle

Increased Role for Wi-Fi in the Digital Home

Wi-Fi's existing large installed base in mobile PCs and home networks means that it is likely to be a primary connectivity solution for new consumer electronics (CE) devices, according to the latest market study by In-Stat. Attach rates for Wi-Fi among game consoles are already approaching 80 percent. In-Stat expects DTV to be another high volume driver, reaching nearly 21 million units shipped with Wi-Fi by 2012. While growth rates and penetration of Wi-Fi in the living room is growing, Wi-Fi is still dominated by the huge volume of mobile Wi-Fi devices. Beyond the already established notebook PC segment, Portable Media Players shipped with Wi-Fi will grow to well over 100 million units in 2011 and cellular/Wi-Fi handsets will pass 300 million units by 2012. "Finalization of IEEE 802.11n will remedy some of the technical issues that constrained Wi-Fi adoption in video-centric CE devices," says Victoria Fodale, In-Stat analyst. "We expect the adoption of Wi-Fi in

Residential Broadband Intelligent Gateways

Just a few years ago, broadband service providers drew a very clear line defining their responsibility once they connected a residence to their communication network. Typically, they refused to support the in-home network, especially the electronic devices that consumers use. However, this trend has since changed in the face of fierce competition and in a market where people are looking to connect multiple devices to their home network for rich media distribution around the home. A recent ABI Research study focused on the residential broadband market forecasts intelligent broadband gateways to produce double-digit annual growth results over the six-year forecast period ending in 2013. ABI Research industry analyst Serene Fong notes that, "Intelligent broadband gateways will gain popularity and account for more than 40 percent of home networking CPE shipments by 2012." Basic equipment with limited intelligence and management capabilities currently dominates more than half

Market Upside for Voice-Centric IP Phones

The Internet Protocol (IP) phone market is actually a tale of two drastically different markets -- business and consumer -- with the former thriving and the latter diverging in a drastically different direction, according to the latest study by In-Stat. By 2012, 31 million voice-centric business IP phones will ship. However, the consumer side of the market is radically different. Among voice-centric IP phones, businesses will outpace consumers more than ten to one. The nascent consumer market for voice-centric IP phones is being subjugated by the introduction of IP media phones, such as the Verizon Hub and AT&T HomeManager that support both IP communications, as well as delivery of Internet information and multimedia content. IP-based communication is replacing TDM networks at a steady pace in the workplace, but adoption is slow among consumers. Even where Voice over IP (VoIP) is being used in the home, many consumers don't realize it because IP-based cable voice services ar

Digital Multimedia Adoption Beyond HDTV

It wasn't long ago that finding a notebook PC with a FireWire port (IEEE 1394) was quite rare. Clearly, it's now a standard interface. Adoption of high-definition digital multimedia continues to drive the need for increasingly faster data transfer options between consumer electronics devices. As adoption of HDMI (High-Definition Multimedia Interface) ports approaches 100 percent in digital televisions, the interface is now moving into TV set-top boxes, DVD equipment and mobile PCs, according to the latest market study by In-Stat. Overall, HDMI-enabled product shipments will increase at an annual rate of 23 percent between 2007 and 2012. In the near future, portable electronic devices, such as digital camcorders, digital still cameras, and portable media players (PMPs) will be among the emerging device categories to watch. "The rapid escalation of HDMI in standard-definition and Blue laser DVD players and recorders is directly related to HDMI's success in HDTVs,&quo

Will Americans Adopt Mobile TV in 2009?

The upcoming switchover to all-digital television broadcasting in the U.S. and other major countries will create an unprecedented opportunity for mobile TV services, according to a new market study by ABI Research. While mobile broadcast TV was pioneered in Japan and South Korea, following the switchover traditional and mobile TV broadcasters and cellular operators in many regions will launch mobile TV services that are forecast to attract over 500 million viewers by 2013. There's an important distinction to draw between content streamed to mobile handsets over cellular networks, and free-to-air broadcasting to mobile devices equipped with mobile TV tuners. "Mobile TV users have yet to value the medium properly because it has not been validated as an independent product and service," says senior analyst Jeff Orr. "It has been primarily offered at the end of a long list of more preferred cellular services. However, Mobile TV will soon be positioned in a more proper

Europe has Highest Mobile Service Adoption

Europe as a region has the highest adoption of mobile services at 121 percent penetration and this is expected to rise to 135 percent by 2012. At these high penetrations, overall service revenue growth through the handset is expected to decline. However, ARPU is expected to continue growing among business users. According to a new market study by ABI Research, overall business revenue is forecast to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of over 4 percent, a significant statistic considering that ARPU from consumer mobile services will stay flat at a CAGR of 0.1 percent. Says practice director Dan Shey, "Not surprisingly, data services are providing the ARPU uplift driven by the uptake of smartphones, and adoption and usage of mobile e-mail and Internet services." However, the impact of these drivers as well as others is different for business customers in different occupational segments -- the end result is a unique set of subscriber and ARPU growth rates, penetrati

Online Video Upside Continues to Impress

Are we nearing the end of online video viewer growth? Apparently, the upside seems unstoppable -- even in the current world economy. As more data about 2008 Internet usage in the U.S. is released, online video increasingly looks like one of the year's big winners. U.S. Internet users viewed 12.7 billion online videos during November 2008 alone, up more than one-third over November 2007, according to data released in January 2009 by comScore Video Metrix. comScore said more than 146 million U.S. Internet users watched an average of 87 videos per viewer in November 2008 -- that's 77 percent of the total U.S. Internet audience. eMarketer also puts online video viewers at more than three-quarters of U.S. Internet users, and estimates that percentage will rise to 88 percent by 2012. For savvy online marketers, this continued growth raises the question of how much online video can be monetized. "Although many consumers are loath to sit through ads when watching online video

Will Online Social Networks Migrate to TV?

Rapidly growing interest in social networking has resulted in many people looking beyond the computer and mobile screens to the living room, according to a new market study by ABI Research. A survey of over 1000 households conducted by the firm shows that consumers are looking to extend their social networks to the TV, as 36 percent of those who currently use social media on a regular basis say they would like to access their networks on the TV screen. "Just as video entertainment is moving fluidly across various screens, so is social media," says senior analyst Jason Blackwell. "We've seen that consumers find increased value through shared entertainment experiences and want to explore and deepen these experiences through communities of interest -- and that's what social TV will ultimately do." When asked which types of application they would be most interested in for social TV, the answers were somewhat dependent on age. Younger consumers were more inte

A Triple-Play Promise that Never Delivered

Recent spikes in online video consumption have created an opportunity for service providers to offer an integrated three-screen video service, according to the latest assessment by TDG. Most U.S. broadband service providers are no doubt viewing this opportunity -- especially those with expansive infrastructure investments that need to be rationalized. "This is the trifecta of video services," notes Michael Greeson, president and principal analyst at TDG. "Though very few have the assets and acumen to pull it off, rest assured every major cable, satellite, and mobile operator is actively pursuing a three-screen strategy. As our new research suggests, they'd be crazy not to." As it stands today, people who want to watch TV programming and other video on their TVs, PCs, and mobile devices end up signing contracts with three different providers, receiving three different packages of content, and paying three different fees. At some point, notes Greeson, service

Bleak Forecast for Mobile Phone Carriers

After 25 years of consistent market growth, the mobile phone business now faces huge challenges this year from a bad global economy and a lack of meaningful new service features, according to the latest market study by In-Stat. The bleak cell phone industry outlook is unprecedented, with dramatic ramifications for device manufacturers, semiconductor manufacturers, infrastructure system vendors and mobile operators alike. "While the cell phone industry has generally been unaffected by economic ups and downs, the near future is different," says Allen Nogee, In-Stat analyst. The current economic slowdown is more widespread and deeper than ever experienced during the cellphone's lifetime, and has spread through Europe, Asia, and North America. In addition, this is the first year without any new major features being added, and last year's new feature, mobile TV, has had very limited success. You may recall the mobile TV anticlimactic results from last year, and the num

Network as the Platform for Economic Power

Do you find yourself online more often? Well, you're not alone. Americans are spending more time online, on both a daily and weekly basis. Home Internet access far outstripped work access time in 2008, according to the latest market study by Harris Interactive. Both trends could continue in 2009, as America's growing pool of unemployed people use the Internet to search for new jobs, financial aid and 21st century skills training opportunities. However, Americans are not the trailblazers in usage. That distinction goes to Internet users in China, who invested 44 percent of their leisure time on the Internet in 2008, according to TNS Global. Americans now rank fifth worldwide, with 30 percent of their leisure time spent online -- virtually tied with Italy (31 percent), Spain and Australia (29 percent each). The U.S. could potentially move up in the world rankings in coming years, especially if the Obama administration is successful in reversing the declining status of Americ

Decline in Network Infrastructure Equipment

Dell'Oro Group announced that it forecasts the combined worldwide sales for access network infrastructure equipment including Cable, DSL and PON access concentrators will decrease almost 15 percent in 2009 to $4.0 billion. Their latest market study indicates that this decrease is primarily due to declining subscriber additions and a weak global economy that will slow operator access network upgrade plans. The report forecasts access concentrator shipment growth for Cable, PON, and VDSL in 2010 and to continue each year through 2013, the duration of the forecast period. Meanwhile, the trend towards higher-speed networks is expected to result in sharp yearly declines in revenue for slower-speed ADSL infrastructure equipment. "The weakening global economic situation has caused us to lower our forecast for most segments relative to our July 2008 forecast," said Tam Dell'Oro, Founder of Dell'Oro Group. "This is especially true for 2009, but there are also i

Home Networks Gain Digital Media Devices

Few home network users currently have permanent connections between their Consumer electronics (CE) devices and their home networks. Those that do primarily connect their game console, according to the latest market study by In-Stat. As more connected CE devices become available, In-Stat expects Blue-ray DVD players and recorders will lead network new digital media client growth. "The primary reasons that more devices are not connected to home networks are -- consumer awareness/knowledge, availability of network-capable CE products on retail shelves, prices of network-capable CE products, competition with non-network-capable CE products (like docking stations), and lack of perceived need by some consumers," says Joyce Putscher, In-Stat analyst. In-Stat's market study found the following: - Almost 43 percent of the Windows PCs used in North American homes in June 2008 had Media Center functionality, up from 32 percent in 2007. - The worldwide media server-capable devi

Software as a Service Finds New Demand

According to IDC, the harsh economic climate will actually accelerate the growth prospects for the Software as a Service (SaaS) model as vendors position offerings as right-sized, zero-CAPEX alternatives to on-premise applications. Buyers will opt for easy-to-use subscription services which meter current use, not future capacity, and vendors and partners will look for new products and recurring revenue streams. As such, IDC has increased its SaaS growth projection for 2009 from 36 percent growth to 40.5 percent growth over 2008. "With a broad slowdown across IT sectors, businesses are increasingly bearish about their short-term ability to invest, whether for stability, growth, or cost savings down the road," said Robert Mahowald, director, On-Demand and SaaS research at IDC. "But SaaS services have benefited by the perception that they are tactical fixes which allow for relatively easy expansion during hard times, and several key vendors finished the year very strong

Netbook PCs Popular as the Second Device

In November 2008 ABI Research carried out a survey of more than 1000 adult consumers in the United States, aimed at identifying their attitudes to netbook computers and mobile Internet devices (MIDs). The results are summarized in a Research Brief that provides critical insights into consumer perceptions of these products. Among many other results, the research found that only 11 percent would use a netbook as their primary computer, while a massive 79 percent view netbooks as a secondary device to be used in addition to a laptop or desktop computer. Netbooks are smaller, so they're not as easy to use or as powerful as a PC or a laptop, and generally don't include built-in CD or DVD drives. However, the flip side is that the smaller size and weight of netbooks makes them much easier to tote around the home or on-the-go. According to ABI principal analyst Philip Solis, "While their low price does cause some consumers to view netbooks as a replacement for a laptop given

Home Security Providers Under an Attack

Home security monitoring revenues are still the financial bedrock of the U.S. residential security industry, constituting 75 percent of all revenue, according to a new market study. This new report from Parks Associates finds the number of monitored security households intending to cancel their service is only 4-8 percent higher than normal due to the economic downturn. The report also warns that the resilience of this service category will attract new competitors. "Traditional security providers must anticipate communications and entertainment service providers will introduce their own home monitoring systems," said Tricia Parks, CEO, Parks Associates. "There have already been announcements in Canada and Europe for home monitoring using security as a primary application. It is reasonable to presume service providers will do the same in the U.S. market" Parks reports the number of monitoring service subscribers will not increase as quickly now as in past years

More Turbulence Ahead for Mobile Operators

An Informa Telecoms & Media market study suggests that the ongoing financial crisis started to make an impact on the global mobile phone services sector during the second half of 2008. Informa's view is that the slowdown in the growth of global mobile subscription numbers and the device market is likely to accelerate in 2009. The world's mobile phone subscription market grew by 18.5 percent in 2008 -- down from 22.5 percent growth in 2007 -- and is set to increase by just 12.7 percent this year, although Informa does note that this reduction in growth is partly due to the effect of natural market development, particularly in Western Europe and USA. Of more concern to the industry is the 7 percent fall estimated by Informa in the handset replacement market in 2008. Unsurprisingly, the world's developed markets will be hit especially hard with the total device market in Western Europe set to contract by 13 percent in 2009. Informa estimates that it could take as long

Netbook Computer Will Lead the New Growth

The time is right for netbook computers to succeed. According to analysts at ABI Research, a confluence of social and technological factors has created demand that will lead to a market explosion for netbooks over the next few years. ABI forecasts worldwide shipments of nearly 35 million this year, rising to an estimated 139 million in 2013. ABI Practice director Kevin Burden describes this evolution as "PDA's began our reliance on instant accessible data while traveling. When PDA functionality converged with cellular voice, smartphones became the new darling of mobile professional technology that many expected to evolve into the hub for all data and communication needs for travelling professionals." Today, with a better understanding for what a smartphone is, is not, and may never be, along with a reality check on the usefulness of UMPCs, the market remains open for new device types. Smartphones did a lot to raise our comfort level with mobile technology as well our

Europeans Embracing Mobile Broadband

According to a market study by IDC, mobile broadband has grown rapidly in popularity among European consumers during the past 18 months. This uptake has been catalyzed by four main factors -- the upgrading of 3G networks with HSPA, the availability of small USB connection devices, a fall in the price of subscriptions, and a rise in consumer penetration of portable PCs. "Mobile broadband presents a big opportunity, both now and for several years to come," said John Delaney, IDC's European director of consumer mobile research. But although the service is simple in concept, its role in the consumer services market is complex. Mobility is only one among a variety of reasons why consumers like mobile broadband. Success in the market will depend critically on a clear understanding of how mobile broadband should be positioned in the spectrum of mobile and Internet services. Mobile broadband is a new source of revenue for mobile operators and improves the use of 3G networks --

U.S. Hispanics Now More Savvy to Internet

Hispanics in the U.S. are not only online in overwhelming numbers, but they are taking advantage of all that the Internet has to offer. Previous notions of Hispanics not having access to the internet, or being unaware of its possibilities, have been dispelled. Not only are U.S. Hispanics online, but they turn to the internet for a variety of reasons. According to a recent Ipsos U.S. market study, sixty-three percent of Hispanics say that they access the Internet at least once a month. These wired Hispanics state that they are turning to the internet for both information and entertainment. From following the days breaking news, downloading the latest musical hit, uploading photographs of family and friends, or even researching products before they make the final purchase decision -- Hispanics show that the internet is an important tool in their everyday life. We live in an ever changing world -- and U.S. Hispanics are keeping up with these events and are turning to the internet to d